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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Recovery of Beauty Lecture - Beauty is in the Brain of the Beholder

24th October 2011, 18:15 to 19:15, Room 201, Elvet Riverside Building, Professor John Onians (University of East Anglia)

This is the second lecture in the Recovery of Beauty Lecture Series.

We used to talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Now we know that this is true because the eye is under the control of the brain, and that is where beauty's secrets lie.   These secrets are many.  One is beauty's universality.  Why are there some phenomena that are considered beautiful in all cultures?  Another is beauty's variety, both across cultures and across individuals.  Why do different cultures have different ideas of beauty, and why do different individuals too?  Why do tastes differ from period to period and place to place? All of these secrets are illuminated by fMRI scans and other techniques for exploring our neural make-up.  And, fortunately, this illumination only enhances beauty's mystery.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.